Mar 15, 2016 | By Kira
UK-based Cooksongold has developed 950Pt/Ru, the world’s first platinum powder optimized for 3D printing fine jewelry and watches. Designed for use with the company’s Precious M 080 direct metal 3D printer, the platinum powder creates new possibilities for manufacturing complex, delicate, and strong platinum jewelry pieces, and opens up an entirely new market in the 3D printed jewelry industry.
There’s a reason the term ‘platinum’ is used to describe some of the finer things in life: from platinum credit cards to platinum record sales, it invokes a sense of superior high quality. In the materials world, platinum is not just a precious metal; it is one of the most desired metals for jewelry and watch making. Lustrous, malleable, and yet stronger and more durable than gold, platinum is also hypoallergenic and therefore ideal for those with sensitive skin.
For all of these benefits, however, platinum is notoriously difficult to work with. The hard metal is prone to cracking, tearing, or shrinking during the milling process, explains CooksonGold.
Cooksongold, a supplier of fabricated precious metals and co-creator of the EOS Precious M 080 metal 3D printer, sought out to address these issues and to create a platinum powder that could actually make directly 3D printed platinum jewelry—rather than platinum jewelry made via 3D printed casts—a viable commercial opportunity. "Producing a Pt alloy powder that offers the best working properties is paramount to the success of the parts produced via direct precious metal 3D printing," they said.
The result, 950Pt/Ru, is the first platinum powder that can be directly 3D printed and then post-processed, milled, and polished to fine jewelry standards. For manufacturers, this could amount to time and cost savings: parts can be customized without the need for tools and molds, and prototypes can be produced within hours.
For jewelry designers and artists, 3D printing technology allows them to create unique, complex, and articulated platinum pieces that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. For example, they can achieve hollow structures, or shapes that fluidly transition between thick and thin sections.
“This is one of the most revolutionary developments for the 3D printing technology. Helping to eliminate the common problems associated with casting platinum," said David Fletcher, Cooksongold business development manager. "It will become vital for bespoke and low volume platinum jewelry production."
To demonstrate the effectiveness of this platinum 3D printing powder, Cooksongold and Platinum Guild International (PGI) recently selected two UK-based jewelry designers to create the first-ever platinum 3D printed pieces. Contemporary jewelry designer Clara Breen opted for a personalized platinum wrist cuff inspired by patterns on an ancient Chinese vase. "Platinum is so fitting because it's the most precious metal," she said. "It is so pure and everlasting."
For his part, award-winning designer Joseph Jackson created a pair of platinum cuff links inspired by bone structure and organic growth. 3D printed in a single run, the cuff links consist of a self-supporting hollow structure and a fine platinum lattice that could only be achieved through 3D printing.
“The direct precious metal 3D printing process enables the production of intricate design forms that if cast would encounter issues due to metal flow. This is a great advantage when working with platinum. Platinum’s strength allows delicate parts to be produced whilst still being strong enough for a wearable piece of jewelry. Another major advantage of the process is its ability to produce hollow forms, reducing component weight and therefore cost,” he explained.
“This technology opens up new frontiers in platinum jewelry designs, just at a time when consumers are increasingly looking for differentiated and highly personal solutions and experiences,” added Huw Daniel, CEO of PGI.
Cooksongold’s platinum 3D printing powder as well as the first 3D printed platinum jewelry pieces will be officially unveiled this weekend at Baselworld 2016, a globally-recognized marketplace and trendsetting exhibition for the watch and fine jewelry industry. A Precious M 080 DMLS 3D printer will also be on-site, 3D printing 18 carat gold throughout the show to demonstrate the possibilities in 3D printed jewelry.
In addition to the new 950Pt/Ru platinum powder, Cooksongold also offers a range of advanced metal powders for 3D printing and advanced manufacturing, including yellow gold, white gold, red gold, and silver. The company plans to unveil even more advanced metal 3D printing powders throughout 2016.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect that platinum is prone to cracking and other issues during the milling process, rather than during casting. Additional information from CooksonGold has also been included.
Posted in 3D Printer Company
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Kira wrote at 3/17/2016 9:08:06 PM:
Hi Teresa, Thank you for your comments and for pointing out the issues in the article. It has been updated to reflect more accurate information from the source. If you have any other concerns or would like to discuss metal 3D printing further, please contact us via our contact form and we'll get in touch.
Teresa Frye wrote at 3/16/2016 10:28:22 PM:
It is unfortunate to see so many factual errors regarding platinum in this article. Clearly the author does not have a technical background and has stated falsehoods in claiming that "Because of its hardness, it is prone to cracking, tearing, or shrinking during the casting process". This is simply untrue. Platinum and its alloys are not inherently hard, and are certainly not prone to cracking or tearing during the casting process. In addition, the author states that "3D Printing can be post-processed, milled, and polished without the risks associated with traditionally cast platinum alloys. For manufacturers, this means significant time and cost savings: parts can be customized without the need for expensive tools and molds, and prototypes can be produced within hours" What "risks" are they referring to? Expensive tools and molds are not required for platinum casting, and I daresay 3D printing equipment is far more expensive than casting equipment. And how can they claim product cost savings in a field that is know to be exponentially more expensive than casting? Where is the proof? This is a deceptive and self-serving piece with Buyer Beware written all over it. I am actually a strong proponent of 3D metal printing, but pieces like this send a dangerous message by misrepresenting platinum.